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September's Journal



19/10/2018 [16:45] Everything went pretty much according to plan for me this morning. Not so much for Rachel though. I'll get to that in a moment. I woke at 04:20 (I know), had my breakfast, and after some time to let it all go down a bit was out the door and running right on the dot of 05:00. This, I hoped, was around the time Rachel was setting off on her marathon in Kenya (two hours ahead of me). Other than being relatively slow for me, my run was great up until the last 10K or so, when I ran out of steam somewhat and had to take a few 500m walking breaks (you never stop moving). What was most interesting was that pitch black night and the extremely heavy fog which, when coupled with the moisture beading on my glasses meant that even with a head torch on sometimes I couldn't see more than a dary grey 80-90cm circle on the ground that didn't really highlight contour changes in front of me and a white cone of fog in front of my eyes. The whole route wasn't like that, and towards half way around the sky brightened enough that I could put the torch away. In the end I finished the run in around 4:08 and was able to 'jump' into the shower and then cycle to work in time to beat my team leader in, which is all that really matters.

Rachel, I found out this afternoon, had a bit of an interesting day in that after the half marathon and 10K people had finished and there were only about 15-20 people left out doing the full fat version there was a torrential hail storm and everyone had to take cover under whatever shelter they could find. Marble-sized hail stones pelted everyone and left red marks. The race was abandoned and people were collected by minibus and wrapped in space blankets as they were cold and wet. Most people went back to finish the last few miles after the storm had subsided, but apparently it was an interesting day to say the least.

I'm heading home now myself to relax at the end of a very long day. Thankfully nothing major happened at work today so I've been able to rest and recuperate fairly well (although I don't think I've stood up out of my chair and moved around quite as much as maybe I should have). Over the weekend I've got Saturday off running (thank goodness) and only a 55 minute run on the Sunday (for time rather than distance), so that should be fine as a leg-stretcher. Other than that Rachel and I are going to try and connect via Skype, and I need to go to Tesco. Then it's Monday again.

18/10/2018 [17:20] 'Amusingly' I woke right about the time I need to wake up tomorrow morning to run before work. This was far too early to be waking up this morning, but at least I got to see how dark it would be. Then I tried to go back to sleep again. I think I just about managed it. Getting up for real and getting on with the morning meant cobbling together stuff to take to work today in case I decide not to carry on with my run when I get as close to work as the route takes me. I think I've brought everything I need to not only work in clean normal clothes during the day, but also continue my run in fresh kit at the end of the day. Now we just have to see how I feel tomorrow morning...

At work today I've tried not to get to het up about anything, as well as drinking a little more than I normally do. Nothing really happened at work other than me filing some bug reports and reading documentation for an upgrade of Satellite I'll attempt in a few weeks from now.

Rachel hasn't been in contact today at all. This is probably down to her SIM still not working in her phone, and the network connectivity at her hotel being "wobbly". Hopefully I'll hear something from her tonight/tomorrow morning before we head off to do our respective runs. I'm taking one last look at the route on the web and hoping I remember all the twists and turns in the half-light of tomorrow morning and then I'm off.

17/10/2018 [17:55] Another less than perfect night's sleep. I still can't work out if it's stress due to work, or missing Rachel quite a lot. Or both. Either way I still managed to lever myself out of bed in time to get showered, make lunch, eat breakfast, and cycle in a leisurely fashion (mostly) to work. It mizzled all the way there, so my running kit was a bit damp when I took it out of my bag at lunch time to go and do my 55 minute run (with 15 minutes of hill repetitions). Given how wet it got with sweat by the time I was half way through rainwater dampness didn't really matter. It probably kept me a bit cooler for a minute or two more, if I think about it.

Plenty of small things done and/or fixed at work today. Nothing really of substantial note, though. I changed a few passwords on a few online accounts in response to some standard extortion emails. I think Livejournal may have been cracked. Either that or something I had used those passwords on long ago has finally given up its user database.

Tomorrow's a rest day before I decide if I'm going to do a really big run before work on Friday morning. If I do then I have the chance to bail out of it at about 10 miles right next to my workplace, so I'm going to bring some clothes and food in tomorrow in case I do that. Otherwise I'll be committed to finishing the run... only not really as I'll be taking my phone and taxi money, so I can really stop at any point, if necessary. I hope not to though, given the pace I intend to run at.

It's really starting to get dark earlier in the evening now. I'm glad I brought my lights with me today. I wish I'd brought my reflective tabard, too.

16/10/2018 [17:30] Another night of broken sleep. Not terribly, but I was still awake in the early hours for a bit. As I had to do a fasted run today I eventually got up at 06:45 and ran for the mandated 40 minutes in some of the mildest weather in quite a few weeks, and that's saying something. Annoyingly, I managed to get stung through my running top on the left of my rib cage, which has then continued to be quite uncomfortable for at least half the day.

Workwise I haven't achieved as much as I would have liked, but I have updated the Red Hat Satellite server to the most recent release (although a whole new version also came out today, which is mildly annoying. I may upgrade to that next week), installed a new server for someone (VM rather than physical), and done a few commits to our Git repository for useful things.

I'm going to go home now, while it remains a little lighter.

15/10/2018 [17:25] So Rachel's now in Kenya. And I'm here. Which isn't very good, but the way it has to be given how much my being there would have cost us (she's there with work, if you remember). We had a lovely Friday evening and Saturday morning and early afternoon. We even squeezed in a slightly-faster-than-I-was-expecting run before we had to head to the train station, too, which was nice. I made it home some time before 21:00 and was able to sit myself down with a film to eat my danish cinnamon whirl before a late bedtime (which meant I didn't spend all that long awake, thankfully). On Sunday the weather wasn't all that great, but I somehow managed to fit in a 50 minute run somewhere mostly new without being completely drenched by rain. So that was good, too. When I got home and cleaned up I was just in time to watch my father finish the Manchester Half Marathon via the YouTube stream of the finish line, which was great. The rest of the day I spent doing house things and being glad I was indoors rather than out. Also Tesco. Disappointingly, it appears that there's something wrong with Rachel's SIM/phone/roaming setup which means that texts aren't able to even be sent from my phone. She also can't send them from her end either, which is likewise distressing.

Also disappointingly, I had a terrible night's sleep last night, which meant I didn't really want to get up this morning. Add in the torrential rain on the way to work and I arrived really not wanting to do much with the day. Happily I was able to ask someone at one of the remote data centers to reseat a disk for me (which fixed the problem) so I didn't have to go out in the rain again and do it myself. So that was good. The rest of today I've basically been picking up the pieces of everything that span a little out of control over the weekend, including the HDD of one of our monitoring workstations which broke completely. That's now been reinstalled on a 'new' HDD and everything is back to normal there.

I'm going to head out and see if it's still raining and aim to get home before it actually gets dark, as it seems to be more and more quickly as autumn gathers pace. Tomorrow morning I'm going to do my fasted/before breakfast run and then head into work, hopefully in slightly better weather than today.

12/10/2018 [15:40] Early morning start to get my fasted run done before breakfast. Happily the wind hadn't come up then, and it only drizzled for about 30 seconds, so when I finished at the closer railway station to cycle Rachel's bike home for storage while she's in Kenya I felt fairly OK. A cycle home, shower, shave, breakfast, and a packed lunch preparation later and I was on the way to work. Over the course of today I've done some useful things for other people with the new firewall, cycled over to a data center with a replacement SSD and fitted it, although the SAN itself doesn't seem to think the new one is 'visible'. This is risible, so I've asked the people who made the system to log in and give it a poke.

Very shortly I'll be heading off to the train station to get a train to see Rachel for tonight and tomorrow morning. I fully intend for us to enjoy ourselves as much as possible as tomorrow afternoon Rachel's off to Kenya (and a few other countries in Africa) to run a marathon and do some work for her charity. This time last year we took both of our parents to do much the same thing, but money's a bit too tight to be able to do it more than once. So yes, she'll be away for almost three weeks, so I'll be throwing myself into work and training to keep my mind off her not being around and to hopefully make the days feel like they're going by a little faster. I'll be home again by Saturday evening, so Sunday will be all about Tesco shopping, my weekly longer run, and then relaxing and generally not doing very much at all. Hopefully it won't rain too hard, although that should be a useful part of my training. I might even wear my ultra pack and stick some weight in it to give me a more realistic training load.

11/10/2018 [17:50] Is it odd that the highlight of my day was a five minute dentist appointment at 08:25 this morning that cost me £45.00 (everything's fine, I even looked like I'd been to the dental hygienist in terms of how my gums had become healthier since the last time I was there 18 months ago)? Since then I've done a lot of work, and also been informed that my line manager has resigned, my team leader is off on a secondment and can't wait to drop everything he's been doing as team lead, someone else in the team is waiting to be moved downstairs back with the people he makes more sense to be with, and at least one other person who does lots of stuff around here, who's in the same room but not the same team, has at least one foot out of the door. It's going to make for very interesting times very soon as the line management above and to the side (potentially absorbing us) is both idiotic and bullying. On the plus side, I may be about to be thrown into the deep end on learning a whole load of new things, but I'm also going to have to recultivate a sense of not caring that I'd just worked my way out of so as to not be stressed when I'm asked to do things and either don't know how, or don't have the time to do.

So yes, there's that. In other news, I'm going home, running before breakfast tomorrow morning (not far) to give a report to my coach on how it felt to run 'fasted', and then tomorrow evening I'm back off to Croydon again to see Rachel before she heads off to Kenya (and other countries nearby) for a little more than two and a half weeks. I wish I was going with her again.

10/10/2018 [17:55] I spent all of yesterday in London being moderately bored at the Red Hat Forum. It really wasn't as good as I'd been hoping, and a lot higher level than I was expecting. Barely anything of technical value, it felt more like something for middle managers and above to attend. It's my own fault for not reading more about it before I went, I guess. Anyway, the food was pretty great, and getting to leave for it with Rachel in the morning, and then walking to her workplace and getting the train home again with her was lovely. As was getting the later train back here this morning. The weather's been absolutely lovely, too. In fact it was too hot to run comfortably at lunch time, but I still did, in my new shoes for the first time. My heel's still not totally healed from the rub I got over the weekend, but with a bit of micropore tape on it seems to survive, mostly.

At work today I did a few complicated things with help from John and generally got back on top of my inbox and all the things in it. Managers continue to make various seemingly stupid decisions, but there's nothing new there these days. I'm going to go home and make sure my house is still there, and then relax and try to get myself ready for tomorrow. There's nothing in particular happening, I just feel quite tired. Also, I desperately need to remember I've got a dentist appointment before work.

08/10/2018 [17:05] Not a huge amount happening this weekend. Well there was, but there were also long periods without Rachel, so they sucked. On Friday I headed to Croydon and arrived at Rachel's house just after she did, which was good. As she'd left our dinner in her work fridge we went out to the new pizza place a few doors down and were not blown away by the service by any means. Still, the food was mostly hot. On Saturday morning we elected not to do parkrun as it was pouring down. Instead Rachel left to deliver a few things and then we met at her favourite close-by cafe to try and have some brunch... but failed to do so as it was packed. We ended up at a place right opposite her house which was... adequate. Later on after Rachel had headed to her hockey game I went into Croydon center to shake an Amnesty International collection thingy until Rachel came to take over from me. It rained the whole time so we were both soaked from either hockey or standing outside of Waitrose for forty minutes. After a hot shower back at the house we had a late lunch and then relaxed for a few more hours before I had to get a train home to go to Kate's wedding reception. Although I arrived on time I knew nobody but the bride and one other person (from work, who I despise) so I didn't stay all that long. It felt like a bit of a waste of an evening that I could have spent with Rachel, but I did want Kate to know I'd been there. On Sunday I did my mandated run according to my training plan, did some washing, went to Tesco, and finished my new book, as well as watching a bit of television. In the evening Rachel and I had a nice long Skype before I headed to bed. Disappointingly, now that my left sinus has stopped aching and being annoying the right one has started to do the same thing. I'm hopeful it won't be quite as bad this time around, but we'll see.

I'm off to Croydon now as I have a Red Hat Forum in London tomorrow, and will then head back to Croydon again after that, so I won't be back in the office until Wednesday. Which is a shame as I've finally made some real progress on the new load balancers I've been wanting to install for the past three weeks or so. It took a lot of this morning to figure out what was going wrong with the installer and the six network interfaces I had to play with, but I eventually got it working. That meant that after I'd been to get my new running shoes at lunch time I could head over to the other server room and install the matching server there in one go. Back at my desk I've done an Ansible run, registered a few IPs/DNS entries, and set up adapter teaming. Anything else people want they can either do themselves tomorrow, or wait until I'm back on Wednesday.

05/10/2018 [16:50] All kinds of rash issues when I got home last night, and throughout the evening. With a healthy application of Anthisan and then one of Rachel's hay fever anti-histamine tablets before bed, as well as 1g of Paracetamol I actually had a really good night's sleep and didn't wake until some time after my radio came on at the usual 07:00. It seems pretty obvious that I've been having some kind of histamine reaction to something, and odd as it may sound it may be something to do with my sinus (infection). Strange, but true. In any event things have been a lot better today, but as I'm off to Croydon this evening to see Rachel I'm not taking any chances and have packed all of the above medicines and things in case I need them over the course of the weekend. Although owing to one thing and another I won't be in Croydon (or with Rachel, boo) for more than tonight and the first half of tomorrow. After that she's off to hockey, and then I'll be heading back home to attend a friend's wedding reception. Given the lateness of the hour that'll finish I won't be going back to Rachel's that night, and she's got something on for two thirds of Sunday so that sort of puts paid to that. If she's feeling up to it (and I really wouldn't blame her if she wasn't) Rachel may come to me on Sunday afternoon/evening, but we'll have to see. In any event I'll be going to see her on Monday night as I've got a thing on in London all day on Tuesday, so I'll stay with her on Tuesday night too and then head back to work and home on Wednesday morning.

I've done a lot of good preparation work for next week and finally getting some servers installed with operating systems, although I think I have to replace at least one DAC cable which may be causing a problem. Other than that I ran a nice gentle 30min at lunch time, and all I have to run over the weekend is a 45min steady pace on "as much trail as possible". So that's nice. I might not even get up and do parkrun tomorrow morning. Then again, if Rachel decides to volunteer I might have to go along and take part just so I'm where she is.

Time to head to the train station at a leisurely pace given the heavy rucksack full of clothing for Rachel to take to Kenya I have with me.

04/10/2018 [17:05] I got very little sleep last night as not only has my left sinus decided that it is very upset with something (no mucus, but very sore/inflamed, and causing a headache), but I have incredibly itchy hands and areas on my body in the evening and over night, manifesting as a rash in some places.. I got up and put on some anti-histamine cream in the early hours and that seemed to help, but over the course of the day my sinus has become more painful and, weirdly, my rash has moved from some places and appeared in others. Right now it's in my left armpit and my scalp is quite itchy in places. I don't know what's going on. If I have another bad night tonight I may go to the doctor tomorrow and ask what's going on.

In other news a book I've been waiting months for arrived from Amazon, and I went to buy some new running shoes and ended up requesting a different colour of the shoes they had in stock, which probably won't arrive for a week or so, which is a bit annoying.

My nose/face really is quite uncomfortable, but at least I'm not having to blow my nose every minute or so. Small mercies.

In other news, I did a lot of VMWare-related stuff today. Moved VMs around to free up a host for re-networking, moved a whole lot more onto different datastores, and generally balanced things a little. So, that was useful.

03/10/2018 [18:00] Another day, another round of paperwork filling in. It seems to be an iterative process, helped by me cycling to the two server rooms and peering at things and writing down information. Then coming back and filling it in on forms and scanning and printing them. Not really part of my job description, but it has resulted in both of the two servers I've been trying to install for the past month or so now being ready to use Kickstart on. All I have to do now is wait for Networks to put the FEX ports on the right VLANs and I should be ready to go. Well, I need to write the Kickstart files, but I've got templates and examples to work off so it shouldn't take more than a minute or two for each one.

I ran my second ultra-marathon training plan session today. A 3K run to a hill, then up and down it four times before a similar run back to work again. Given where I live isn't known for being particularly contoured, this is about as good as it gets for 'hill training'. Sometimes it would be useful to have a car so I could go further afield, but for the forseeable future it's where I went, or getting down to Croydon and the North Downs.

There continues to be an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and annoyance here at work, palpable in pretty much any company I'm in. I don't know if much is going to change in the short (or even long) term, but I'm hopeful we won't lose between one and three very useful people before morale improves.

02/10/2018 [17:50] An especially hectic and annoying day consisting mostly of me walking around the building trying to match up purchase orders and invoices with internal forms to allow servers to be plugged in, acceptance tested, and asset tagged, such that I can then get said servers entered into our asset management system and maybe, just maybe, installed with an operating system and made ready to use. Currently the chances of this happening at all are close to nil. This aggravates me in ways I'm unable to vocalise. At least I managed to get one server (of about twelve) connected, and the ports used passed over to Networks to be given the right port profile. I also went for my first coach-planned training run. Exactly six months before my first ultra marathon. It was easy, and I enjoyed it. And not just because it was me being away from the stupidity of work for half an hour.

When I got home last night the lawn had been mowed. The grass in indeed shorter, but is definitely not as neat and manicured as it was when I moved in a year ago. It basically looks like my hair just after I've had it cut. Anyway, that's that. I think I'll go home. I was in at 07:30 this morning for some VMWare disk resize work, so I should have gone home hours ago.

01/10/2018 [17:50] It's all gone to hell here. Not terribly. It's just that there's no Process here for dealing with new servers when they come in the door. I don't know how much of is it up to me to do, but I've amassed enough temper to stand up and start trying to do something about it. It isn't having any effect yet, but I've sent out enough conciliatory emails and enough meetings today that perhaps there'll be some movement tomorrow. I know for a fact that some problems/blockers aren't my fault, but I'm hopeful that the more I can get smoothed out the better chance other people have of getting their jobs done. I'm going to have to liaise with Networks, my line manager, my team leader, and even some upper management to get things going. It's going to be interesting.

What was more disappointing than interesting was the 10K race I ran this weekend with Rachel and some other ex-rower friends. I'd been hoping to get sub 40min, but only managed a shade over 42min. I was beaten by around 2min 40sec by Rachel (who also got first woman overall), and a friend (by a little over a minutes) who I never would have assumed would have beaten me in the past. I really have lost so much of my speed (and fitness?) since my marathon PB in the first quarter of the year. My ultra training starts tomorrow, so hopefully as times goes by in the next six months I'll develop some solid fitness base again upon which I can add some speed when necessary.

There's tons more I could write today, but I really can't be bothered at this point. I want to go home.